• Rich, Maria, and Parker flew out on Sunday, December 1st, having left us with the good news that probably by the next time we saw them, we’d have another niece or nephew / cousin to love. (Turned out to be a niece… Yes to more girls!) That night (the 1st), my parents came down to our house so my mom and Nate could cap a sprinkler before our patio pour the next day. It was the beginning of a splendid sprinkler system apprenticeship as my mom has shown Nate the ropes of DIY irrigation. Our front driveway is at quite an incline and goes into our semi-busy street, so we had a big patio poured in back of our house for wheeled toys, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and all other fun things that can and should be done on a flat concrete surface. My family had used the same crew previously for some patio and sidewalk work, so they came highly recommended and didn’t disappoint! One of the days they worked at our place, it was quite cold and they lit a fire, which was funny to see in our backyard. We’ve really liked our patio and use it almost daily.
• The patio pour was just the beginning of our December nesting. Our kitchen fridge got delivered on the 2nd, which was a happy day. We ordered it on Amazon because it was $1,000 cheaper than at Lowes… Crazy! And well worth the longer time waiting for it to arrive. Trips to Target and IKEA were regular occurrences, as were appointments for flooring and/or shutter guys to come out to fix this or that, plus electrical repairs and an air balance check as we figured out how to regulate our heating and AC. This list wouldn’t be complete without a mention of how many times the builder’s cabinet company tried and failed to rectify the problems that either they or the builder caused with our cabinets. *sigh* It was like cabinet groundhog day, but not as funny. Our kids were good sports about their formerly predictable world being suddenly turned inside-out. Maisy was excited about “her house” and “her room,” and it also helped to still have afternoons with Mimi as something constant on days when everything else seemed to be in flux as we settled in.
• As any December should be, ours was sprinkled with holiday activities like decorating, cookie exchanges, and a few parties.
• We had a bridal shower brunch for Kenzie the Saturday before Christmas, which was well-attended even though people have so much going on around the holidays. I was relieved to have our home ready enough to throw this party for Kenz (I can thank Nate and my family for lots of help to make that happen), and I was appreciative for all the support and gifts that Kenzie received.
We wish Kenzie could be in town more often!
• The day after the shower, we took advantage of having a gathering-ready house and had my family’s annual “gingerbread”/graham structure making activity, which the Steeds joined us for. We were too busy creating to take many photos, but here are a few pics of our candy nativity-temple combo, Tara and Tyson’s teepee village, and Rochelle and Jamie’s bowling alley, plus a joyful Quincy face:
• We tried to slow down enough to soak in some of our other holiday traditions including stocking stuffer shopping, celebrations at the office, and Christmas Eve with friends, scriptures, carols, and Christmas storybooks. If we slowed down too much, though, we’d fall asleep, even if we were mid-email or mid-thought!
• During my not-uncharacteristic last-minute gift wrapping marathon while watching Christmas movies, Nate was the thoughtful best friend and beau that he is and stayed up late on Christmas Eve making my favorite treat. I was surprised and impressed!
• Christmas Day was humorous with the little kids loving each other’s company in between alternately fighting over and making messes with each other’s new toys. Regardless of all those details, it’s always an awesome blessing to me to have all the family together for a day without work or any other distractions. I look forward to next holiday season when we’ll already be settled in our home and life hopefully won’t be as chaotic.
• In time for Christmas, Nate installed shelves for me in our main living area where I can display my collection of nativity sets. I was tickled to have a special place in my own home to display them. Most of my nativities have been gifts and each set has its own story. No December journal blog post would be complete without testifying that the most important story of all time is that of the Christ child who was born to miraculous yet humble circumstances, and who lived perfectly in that same way – miraculously and with unfathomable humility. I’m grateful for a whole season every year when we can saturate our homes and lives with extra reminders of the Savior, his birth, life, and innumerable, immeasurable gifts to us all. No matter what our individual Christmases are like, we are all alike and loved the same by our Savior, who brings meaning to every season and love to every life open to Him and His power.